“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”
Ephesians 4:29-32 NASB
God has made me aware of the power of my tongue. He has shown me the impact that words have on the human heart. I grew up as one peculiar. I had many traumas in my life and I was a walking wound, bleeding and making a mess in every situation I entered. I was regularly bullied. In all that, I learned to give as good as I got. I also learned to read people. When one is regularly abused, one develops a vigilance, or even hyper vigilance, where a lot of energy is spent reading people. I learned how to hurt effectively.
When I came to Jesus I began to be transformed. I began to understand that I was connected to other people, especially those in the household of faith. I also developed a deep empathy. It is easy to hurt others when you don’t feel a connection. In Jesus Christ, I am connected by the blood, to people that may be of others races, of others economic status, or even political persuasion. I measure my words with my brothers and sisters, for I know the hurt I cause, hurts me as well.
So much of what we endure is driven by the power of the words we speak, write, or use in any way we can. Within the micro culture of the church, we are careful to use words that build up. I go to church to build up my fellow believers to assist them in having the power to go out and be the believers they were saved to be. The reward is seen in the church, as the body is vibrant and healthy. People get along and others outside the assembly are drawn to it by the great love and the sense of belonging.
That is the power of the Gospel manifested: we draw the lost to the love of God. Sin is a horrible task master, it demands everything from those bound to it. In Christ there is the promise of real freedom. I am more deeply aware of the effect of my words on the people I encounter.
I remember laying in my bed at the Mayo Clinic years ago. The phlebotomists came to my room every morning around 3am to take my blood. Each time I viewed it as an opportunity for the sharing of the Gospel. One morning I encountered one who was very troubled. I could sense her desperation and the sadness of her soul. She struggled to get blood and was becoming increasingly frustrated. Rather than my own frustration, I showed her the love of my Savior. I encouraged her with kind words. I could see the impact it had on her by the look in her eyes.
Believers, we have the heart of the Savior guiding us. We may be the only contact that a lost, sad and desperate world has with Jesus. We must be about representing Him. Each interaction must be approached as if eternity was imminent. In reality it is. As I am writing this devotional, countless people have died and gone into that eternity never knowing Jesus. They have gone to hell.
This is not a time for debating whatever one wants to debate, but a time for being kind, tender hearted, graceful and looking at the heavenly significance of every encounter you may have. Take the love out of the church building, and take it with you. The world is your pew. So many people are hurting. So many are bleeding internally, like the phlebotomist I encountered years ago. Bring the love of Jesus to them, the hope of something better. The joy of being forgiven of ones sins, of the power to turn from sin, which is the destroyer of peace.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”
Psalms 19:14 NASB
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